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Oxford Innovation


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Strategic Allies is connected with various organisations in the innovation community & will be doing “shout-outs” for a selection of these over the coming months – today it’s Oxford Innovation….

Oxford Innovation is based in the UK, focussed on providing space, advice and finance to entrepreneurs and innovators in places that can help localities to thrive.

The roots of Oxford Innovation lie in the first commercial spin-out from Oxford University – Oxford Instruments PLC. Founded in 1959 by the late Sir Martin Wood and Lady Audrey Wood, their experience of developing a spin-out company revealed the challenges faced by entrepreneurs and inspired them to set up The Oxford Trust, a charitable trust which continues to support the region’s science and technology ecosystem today. Through the problems they unearthed and their work with the Oxford Trust, in 1987 Oxford Innovation was born.

Oxford Innovation has supported over 7,000 SMEs to become sustainable businesses, creating high value jobs, innovative products and services and as a result, enhanced local economies. Having started with a couple of portacabins in Osney Mead, Oxford, the company now manage the UK’s largest network of innovation centres housing over 1,000 innovative early-stage businesses.

Oxford Innovation supports economic growth by supporting businesses with advice, finance and facilities and has separate companies covering those areas:

  • Oxford Innovation Space – creates the workspaces that help ambitious entrepreneurs and innovators to grow their businesses and create high value employment. The organisation has a network of over 25 innovation centres currently, with a further seven in the pipeline, providing entrepreneurial businesses with the support systems and community that encourage their growth;
  • Oxford Innovation Advice – specialises in delivering business support programmes for cities, regions and places that are aimed at helping small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) to grow, to innovate and to raise finance for their expansion;
  • Oxford Innovation Finance – provides ambitious companies with the opportunity to raise finance from a large, diverse investor base and give investors the opportunity to invest in high quality and pre-screened investment opportunities. Investors can invest either directly, or via the Oxford Innovation EIS Growth Fund which offers a diversified investment in a range of innovative and high growth potential companies.

Oxford Innovation Space is launching two new centres:

Vulcan Works: A brand new £14 million hub supporting start-up businesses in creative industries, opened Feb 1st 2023

Vulcan Works, managed by Oxford Innovation Space provides lettable office space, workshops, meeting rooms and co-working spaces for business owners from its newly revitalised space in the heart of Northampton’s Cultural Quarter.

The refurbishment works have been funded by West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) and South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP), who facilitated a Local Growth Fund contribution of £6.3 million, together with £3.06 million from the European Regional Development Fund.

It is estimated that Vulcan Works will support around 150 start-up businesses in its first 10 years, creating around 500 jobs in the area. The centre has also pledged to work with local contractors and agencies, ploughing more money back into the local economy.

Launchpad: A new state-of-the-art sustainable innovation centre in Southend-on-Sea

Launchpad is an exciting growth hub for new and innovative businesses with bright ideas looking for collaboration with like-minded SMEs and a supportive environment in which to flourish. Managed by Oxford Innovation Space, a new team of locally-based, experienced experts will support businesses based at the innovation centre to innovate, collaborate and develop.

Commissioned by Southend-on-Sea City Council, Launchpad is part of the €150M Airport Business Park; a brand-new, world-class, multi-use business park just a stone’s throw from the airport and local transport links meaning businesses based there can reach a wide market.

Along with investment by Southend-on-Sea City Council, the development of the enabling works for the business park and the Launchpad itself received significant funding from South East Local Enterprise Partnership and further funding for some of the green initiatives at the Launchpad was secured from Nature Smart Cities.

The cutting-edge building has been given the highest accreditation of sustainability and will be open to new tenants in March 2023.

If you’re part of a young innovative company looking for facilities and support then checkout the Oxford Innovation Space workplaces near you!